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Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineers

A booklet, Symbols and Abbreviations for use in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Courses, was published by the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1968 and 1971. To take account of the many revisions and additions to British and International Standards since then, a new and fully revised edition was published in 1979, with reprints in 1980 and 1983. In 1985, the editorial panel reconvened and undertook a total review and update of the Symbols and Abbreviations booklet, prior to it being re-issued under its new title in the professional brief series, in 1986. Further reviews of the contents were undertaken in 1991 and 1996. Any comments on the present content, or suggestions for additional material, will be welcomed. Please address comments to the Secretary of the Institution. The booklet is for use by students and staff in colleges and universities, as a reference for authors of papers and books on electrical and electronic engineering and related subjects, and as a guide for draughtsmen and designers in industry. Appendix A lists the standards which have been used in the preparation of this Guide.

The IET 2008

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Preface Introduction Abbreviations for Words & Phrases Printing Conventions
Letter symbols, subscripts

i 1 2 3
3 4 5 5 6 7 7

Unit Symbols

Compound symbols

4 5 6 8 10 13
13 15

Numerical Values

The decimal sign Multiplication of numbers

The International System of Units

SI base units and supplementary units SI derived units Non-SI units

Quantity Symbols for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Illumination Quantity Symbols for Electrotechnics Subscripts and other uses of Letters and Numbers
General Semiconductors

Mathematical Symbols Physical Constants Conversion Factors

Length Area, Volume Mass, Density Velocity Force, Pressure, Torque Energy, Power Nucleonics, Radiation Special remark on logarithmic quantities and units

16 18 19
19 19 19 19 20 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 26 26 27 28 29

Graphical Symbols

Connections and network elements Power plant Electronic devices Logic symbols Optic fibre symbols Telecommunication symbols Microwave devices Flowchart symbols


Some Abbreviations

Commonly used abbreviations in optical, logic and microprocessor circuits Component identification abbreviations

28 30

Letter and Digit Code for R & C Values

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Appendix A Appendix B Appendix B

31 32 33

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


In the expression I = 16 mA, I is the quantity symbol for the physical phenomenon of electric current, and 16 is its numerical value in terms of the decimal submultiple (103) of a unit (ampere) of current; mA is the unit symbol for milliampere. Other symbols (such as j, exp, Cu) are used to indicate mathematical operations, chemical elements etc. Frequently occurring technical phrases are commonly rendered as abbreviations (such as e.m.f., p.d.). In circuit diagrams, graphical symbols identify network components and devices. International letter symbolism is based on the Roman and Greek alphabets. There are fewer than 90 distinctive capital and small letters to represent some thousands of scientific and technical quantities, and extensive duplication is unavoidable. Priority is given here to electrical, electronic and manufacturing engineering, and quantities in associated fields are, where necessary, assigned alternative or second-choice symbols. The units and symbols listed throughout this booklet conform to the recommendations of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the British Standards Institution (BSI). Additionally, because of their common usage, in the Logic Symbols under Section 12 some distinctive-shape binary logic symbols have been used.

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

1. Abbreviations for Words & Phrases

Well known abbreviations, such as those listed below, are set in small roman (lower-case upright) letters, except for proper names, the unit system (SI), at the start of a sentence (e.g. A.C., not A.c.), and in titles and table headings where preferred: Alternating current* Direct current* Electromotive force Per unit a.c d.c. e.m.f. p.u. Phase Potential difference Power factor Root mean square ph. p.d. p.f. r.m.s.

*Adjective only, as in a.c. motor, d.c. circuit. As in 3-ph. Supply Ad hoc abbreviations (such as s.s.b. for single sideband) may be employed subject to an initial use in context of the full expression. Some acronyms (e.g. radar, laser) are used as nouns. The use of capital letters without full points for some abbreviations is common, particularly in the fields of logic, computers and microprocessors (see Commonly used abbreviations in optical, logical and microprocessor curcuits in Section 13).

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

2. Printing Conventions
For clarity, in scientific and technical literature, different types of object are printed in different typefaces. The normal printing conventions are as follows: Object unit symbols scalar physical quantities vector physical quantities* numbers and numerical constants numerical variables matrices standard mathematical functions Typeface Roman Italic Italic boldface or Italic with arrow Roman Italic Italic boldface Roman Examples Hz, s, m , t l, E l, E 17, , e x, xn, f(x) A sin, loge

Note: the four styles of typeface are (using the letter A as an example): Roman (or upright): Italic (or sloping): A A Roman boldface: Italic boldface: A A

*this typeface also applies to phasor physical quantities

Letter symbols, subscripts

Letter symbols should be used with consistency (e.g. only L for self-inductance, only P for power), but distinguishing subscripts can be attached (e.g. L1 and L2). Upper-case letters (e.g. V, I) are used for steady, mean and r.m.s values; lower-case letters for instantaneous values which vary with time (e.g. v, i). Maximum, minimum and average are indicated by subscripts (e.g. Vmax, Vmin, Vav).

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

3. Unit Symbols
Unit symbols are printed in upright roman characters and are used after numerical values (e.g. 10 A, but a few amperes). They are the same in singular and plural, and are not followed by a full point except for normal punctuation, e.g. at the end of a sentence. A space is set between the number and its unit symbol (e.g. 230 V, not 230V). The decimal multiples and submultiples given below are prefixed, without a space, to the unit symbols (e.g. 6.6 kV). Compound decimal prefixes should not be used (e.g. pF, not F). 1024 1021 1018 1015 1012 109 106 103 yotta zetta exa peta tera gigi mega kilo Y Z E P T G M k 103 106 109 1012 1015 1018 1021 1024 milli micro nano pico femto atto zepto yocto m n p f a z y

102 101 101 102

hecto deca deci centi

h da d c

Powers in steps of 3 are preferred, but some others have common usage (e.g. centimetre cm, decibel dB).

Compound symbols
In a compound unit symbol, multiplication is denoted by either a dot or a space (e.g. Nm, N m). The last form may also be written without a space, provided that special care is taken when the symbol for one of the units is the same as the symbol for a prefix, e.g. mN means millinewton, not metre newton. Unit division may be indicated by a solidus (e.g. V/m). Not more than one solidus should appear in a combination (e.g. 5 m/s2, not 5 m/s/s). In some cases parentheses or negative powers may be used for clarity (e.g. 1/s or s1; J/(m s K) or J m1 s1 K1).

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

4. Numerical Values
Numbers should generally be printed in roman (upright) type. To facilitate the reading of numbers with many digits, these may be separated into suitable groups, preferably of three digits, counting from the decimal sign towards the left and the right; the groups should be separated by a small space, and never by a comma or a point, nor by any other means.

The decimal sign

The IEC and the BSI indicate that a comma on the line is the preferred decimal sign. In most British Standards, most UK literature, and all USA literature it is the practice to use a dot on the line as the decimal marker. In order to avoid confusion the IET adopts the convention of English literature publications and uses a dot on the line as the decimal marker.

Multiplication of numbers
In the UK the preferred sign for the multiplication of numbers is a cross (X); if a dot is used as the decimal sign, the cross must be used. (A dot half-high may be used as the multiplication sign for numbers, but in this case a comma should be used as the decimal sign.)

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

5. The International System of Units

The International System of Units (SI) establishes three kinds of units: base, supplementary, and derived, discussed in the following sub-sections under Section 5. In addition, various other units, listed under the sub-heading Non-SI Units, are recognised for continued use alongside SI units. Many obsolescent non-SI units are listed in Section 11, where conversion factors are given.

SI base units and supplementary units

There are seven base units and two supplementary units, as shown below: Base quantity length mass time electric current thermodynamic temperature amount of substance luminous intensity plane angle solid angle The definitions of these units are as follows: metre (m): the metre is the length of the path travelled in vacuum by light during (1/299 792 458) second. kilogram (kg): the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram. second (s): the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium133 atom. ampere (A): that constant current which, if maintained in two straight parallel conductors of infinite length, of negligible circular cross-section, and placed 1 metre apart in vacuum, would produce between these conductors a force equal to 2 x 107 newton per metre of length. kelvin (K): the unit of thermodynamic temperature is the fraction 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water (but see footnote*). candela (cd): the luminous intensity, in a given direction, of a source which emits monochromatic radiation with a frequency 540 x 10l2 hertz and whose energy intensity in that direction is (1/683) watt per steradian. mole (mol): the amount of substance of a system which contains as many elementary entities as there are atoms in 0.012 kilogram of carbon12. When the mole is used, the elementary entities must be specified and may be atoms, molecules, ions, electrons, other particles, or specified groups of such particles. radian (rad): the plane angle between two radii of a circle which cut off on the circumference an arc equal in length to the radius. steradian (sr): the solid angle which, having its apex at the centre of a sphere, cuts off an area of the surface of the sphere equal to that of a square with sides of length equal to the radius of the sphere. Name of SI base unit metre kilogram second ampere kelvin mole candela radian steradian Unit symbol m kg s A K mol cd rad sr

The supplementary units radian and steradian are to be regarded as dimensionless derived units which may be used or omitted in the expressions for derived units.
* In addition to the thermodynamic temperature (symbol T), expressed in kelvins, use is also made of Celsius temperature (symbol t) defined by the equation t = T-To where To = 273.15 K by definition. The unit degree Celsius is equal to the unit kelvin, but degree Celsius is a special name in place of kelvin for expressing Celsius temperature. A temperature interval or a Celsius temperature difference can be expressed in degrees Celsius as well as kelvins, but kelvin is to be preferred.

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

SI derived units
The units of all physical quantities are derived from the base and supplementary SI units, and certain of them have been named. These, together with some common compound units, are given here: Quantity force energy power pressure, stress electric potential electric charge electric flux magentic flux magnetic flux density electric resistance electric conductance capacitance inductance Celsius temperature* frequency luminous flux activity (of a radionuclide) absorbed dose dose equivalent mass density moment of force torque electric field strength electrical displacement magnetic field strength thermal conductivity luminance Unit Name newton joule watt pascal volt coulomb coulomb weber tesla ohm siemens farad henry degree Celsius hertz lumen becquerel grey sievert kilogram per cubic metre newton metre mewton metre volt per metre coulomb per square metre ampere per metre watt per metre kelvin candala per square metre Unit Symbol N J W Pa V C C Wb T S F H oC Hz Im Bq Gy (=J/Kg) Sv (=J/Kg) kg/m3 Nm Nm V/m C/m2 V/m W m-1 K-1 cd/m2 Expression in terms of SI base unit m kg s-2 m2 kg s-2 m2 kg s-3 m-1 kg s-2 m2 kg s-3 A-1 sA sA m2 kg s-2 A-1 kg s-2 A-1 m2 kg s-3 A-2 m-2 kg-1 s3 A2 m-2 kg-1 s4 A2 m2 kg s-2 A-2 K s-1 cd sr s-1 m2 s-2 m2 s-2 m-3 kg m2 kg s-2 m2 kg s-2 m kg s-3 A-1 m-2 s A m-1 A m kg s-3 K-1 m-2 cd

*See footnote to previous sub-section - SI base units and supplementary units

Non-SI units
Some commonly used units not within the SI range are: angle energy length mass pressure, stress rotational frequency time volume degree (1 = /180 rad); minute (1 = (160)) second (1 = (160)); revolution (1 r = 2rad) calorie (cal); electronvolt (eV); watt-hour (W h) ngstrm () ton (ton); tonne (= metric ton) (t) unified atomic mass unit (u) atmosphere (atm); bar (bar); torr (Torr) revolution per minute (r/min)*, revolution per second (r/s)* minute (min); hour (h); day (d); year (a) litre (L, l or litre)

*These are widely used for rotational frequency in specifications of rotating machinery.

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

6. Quantity Symbols for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Illumination

As noted in Section 2, an italic typeface is used for quantity symbols. Quantity acceleration, angular acceleration, linear acoustic pressure angle, plane angle, solid angular momentum area, surface area bulk compressibility coefficient of heat transfer density efficiency energy energy, kinetic energy, potential energy, volume density enthalpy entropy force frequency frequency, angular friction, coefficient friction, force coefficient friction, torque coefficient Gibbs function heat, quantity of heat heat, heat capacity heat, specific heat capacity heat, flow rate heat, density of heat flow rate Helmholtz free energy illumunance internal energy isentropic exponent Symbol SI Unit rad/s2 m/s2 Pa rad sr kg m2 s-1 m2 m2/N W m-2 K-1 kg/m3 J J J J/m3 J J/K N Hz rad/s N s/m N m s/rad J J J/K J kg-1 K-1 W W/m2 J Lx J m2/s m cd/m2 lm cd kg kg/s N s/m Pa N/m2 N/m2 N/m2 Nm kg m2

a , , L A, S K E Ek Ep W H (=U=pV) S F f F F G (=U+pV-TS) Q C c th q A, F (A=U-TS) E U V p K =p V s kinematic viscosity v length l luminance L luminous flux luminous intensity l mass m mass flow rate qm mechanical impedance Zm moduli, modulus of elasticity (Young) E moduli, longitudinal modulus of elasticity E moduli, sheer modulus, modulus of rigidity G moduli, bulk modulus, modulus of compression K moment of force M moment of inertia J

( ( ))

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

6. Quantity Symbols for Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Illumination (continued)

Quantity momentum Poisson ratio pressure, stress radius of gyration ratio of specific heat capacities second axial moment of force second polar moment of area specific heat capacity, constant pressure specific heat capacity, constant volume specific heat capacity, staturation strain, linear strain, sheer strain, volume strain, bulk strain surface tension temperature, thermodynamic temperature temperature, Celsius temperature temperature interval thermal, conductivity thermal, resistance time time constant torque velocity, angular velocity, linear viscosity viscosity, kimematic volume volume, specific volume, flow rate weight work Symbol p p k (=cp/cv) la lp cp cv csat T, t, , k Rth t T v V v gv G W SI Unit kg m/s Pa m m4 m4 N/m K oC K w m-1 K-1 K/W s s Nm rad/s m/s Pa s m2/s m3 m3/kg m3/s N j

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering

7. Quantity Symbols for Electrotechnics

Quantity admittance attenuation attenuation coefficient bandwidth capacitance charge charge density, surface charge density, volume conductance conductance, mutual conductivity control angle, rectifier control angle, inverter coupling factor current current density, area current density, linear current linkage damping coefficient decrement, logarithmic dipole moment, electric dipole moment, magnetic dissipation factor distortion factor electric constant electric field, strength electric field, level electric flux electric flux density electric polarisation electric susceptibility electromotive force energy energy, Fermi feedback factor frequency frequency, angular frequency, deviation frequency, complex angular gain group velocity group delay Hall coefficient impedance impedance, characteristic impedance, surge inductance, self inductance, mutual leakage factor Symbol Y A B C Q G gm , k I J A p j d d o E Le D P , E E, We p G cg, vg tg Rh, Ah Z Zo Zo L Ljk, M SI Unit S Np dB m-1 Hz F C C/m2 C/m3 S S S/m rad rad A A/m2 A/m A s-1 (or Np/s) Cm Wb m F/m V/m Np C C/m2 C/m2 V J J Hz rad/s Hz s-1 m/s s m3/C H H -

Not a SI unit but in common usealso see section 11 sub section Special remark on Logarithmic quantities and units Not a SI unit but in common use More usually expressed in eV

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


7. Quantity Symbols for Electrotechnics (continued)

Quantity loss angle magnetic constant magnetic field strength magnetic flux magnetic flux density magnetic flux linkage magnetic (area) moment magnetic polarisation magnetic susceptibility magnetic vector potential magnetisation magnetomotive force mobility modulation factor (a.m.) modulation factor (f.m.) noise factor noise power noise temperature number density of particles number of phases number of pole pairs, pulses number of turns period permeability, absolute permeability, relative permeance permittivity, absolute permittivity, relative phase, angle phase, delay phase, deviation phase change phase-change coefficient phase velocity polarisation, electric polarisation, magnetic potential potential difference power, active power, apparent power, reactive power factor power factor, sinusoidal power-level difference Poynting vector propagation coefficient Q (quality) factor radiant energy radiation resistance Not a SI unit but in common use Symbol o H B m Bi J , A Hi M F, m m F, Fn Pn Tn n m p N T r r to B c, v P Bi, J V U, V P S Q cos S Q Q, W Rr SI Unit rad H/m A/m Wb T Wb A m2 T Wb/m A/m A m2 V-1 s-1 rad W K m-3 s H/m H, Wb/A F/m rad rad rad rad rad/m m/s C/m2 T V V W VA var Np, dB W/m2 m-1 J

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


7. Quantity Symbols for Electrotechnics (continued)

Quantity rating reactance reflection coefficient refractive index regulation reluctance resistance resistance-temperature coefficient resistivity signal slip standing-wave radio susceptance susceptibility, electric susceptibility, magnetic transconductance transfer function transmission factor turn-on, turn-off time voltage wavelength work function Symbol S X r, p n R, Rm R S s s B , , gm H ton, toff U, V SI Unit V A, W p.u. H-1, A/Wb K-1 m S A/V, S s V m J

Not a SI unit but in common use More usually expressed in eV

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


8. Subscripts and other uses of Letters and Numbers

It is recommended as a guiding principle for the printing of subscripts that, when these are symbols for physical quantities, they should be printed in italic type. Numbers as subscripts should be printed in roman type; mathematical variables (e.g. running subscripts) should be printed in italic type. All other subscripts should be printed in roman type. Some commonly used abbreviations, often occurring as subscripts, are as follows:

a absolute acoustic active additional alternating ambient anode anti-resonance axial ambient asynchronous average backward base breakdown calculated carrier case coercive collector correction critical cut-off chemical composite critical d-axis damped delay deviation diameter difference diffuse direct dissipation distortion dynamic demodulation effective electric emitter equivalent error external exp f experimental field filament, heater final forward frequency floating airgap gate grid group hysteresis height, depth hybrid ideal image induced initial input instantaneous intermediate internal intrinsic image insertion indirect junction cathode knee iterative short circuit transformation ratio leakage limiting line local longitudinal load large signal

fl g

amb as av b br c

ch cp cr d

im in ind j k

K l

dem e

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


8. Subscripts and other uses of Letters and Numbers (continued)

m magnetic magnetising maximum measured mechanical mutual peak value maximum median mimimum modulation natural noise nominal output spherical characteristic in vacuo open circuit optical original overload parallel, shunt parasitic pole, or pairs of poles primary psophometric pulse pull down phase peak punch through pull up peak-to-peak q-axis quadrature quiescent turn off radical radiation rated real relative reflection remanent residual r (cont) resonance resulting reverse reverse transfer rotational rotor reference root mean square value secondary segment series signal spherical standardised static stator steady issue storage synchronous saturation short-circuit simultaneous sinusodial storage successive tangential total transient transmission transverse thermal theoretical total usual useful luminous vartying vacuum valley winding reactive crosstalk

max med min mod n

ref rms s

o oc opt or ov p

sat sc sim sin stg suc t

pd ph pk pt pu p-p q

th tot u v

wdg x

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


8. Subscripts and other uses of Letters and Numbers (continued)

0 characteristic free space no load zero frequency full load fundamental input port 1 positive sequence primary 2 negative sequence output port 2 second harmonic secondary tertiary parallel perpendicular spherical at infinity

3 , p , n 0, s

To the incremental hybrid (h), admittance (y) and impedance (z) parameters, double subscripts are applied in the order (1) function, (2) common electrode: (1) i or 11 input; o or 22 output; f or 21 forward transfer; r or 12 reverse transfer. (2) b base; c collector; d drain; e emitter; g gate; s source (e.g. hoe, y12b). The upper-case variant of the subscript is used for static (d.c.) or large-signal values (e.g. hFE, h21F). The real and imaginary parts of a device impedance are shown, respectively, by Re and j Im (e.g. hie = Re (hie) + j Im (hie)). Upper-case letters are used for the representation of electrical parameters of external circuits and all inductances and capacitances. Except for L and C, lower-case letters are used for electrical parameters inherent in the device (e.g. re). In equivalent circuits using 3-terminal devices, a third letter may be used to indicate the condition at the third terminal (e.g. VCBO where IE = 0), while the first subscript indicates one terminal of the device and the second subscript the reference terminal or circuit node.

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


9. Mathematical Symbols
Term 1 ratio of circumference to diameter of circle base of natural logarithms exponential function (to the base e) of x logarithm to the base a of x natural logarithm of x common logarithm of x binary logarithm of x circular functions of x inverse circular functions of x hyperbolic functions of x inverse hyperbolic functions of x sum product function value of the function at x limit to which (x) tends as x approaches a finite increment of x variation of x total differential of operators , d x dx differential coefficient of order n of (x) partial differential coefficient of order (x, y, ...) with respect to x, when y, ... are held constant indefinite integral of (x) with respect to x definitive integral of (x) from x = a to x = b convolution product of and x matrix A Symbol j (3.141 592 654) e (2.718 281 828) ex, exp x logax ln x (logcx) lg x (log10x) lb x (log2x) sin x, cos x, tan x arcsin x, arccos x, arctan x sinh x, cosh x, tanh x arsinh x, arcosh x, artanh x

(x) lim (x)


d Dx, D dn , (n)(x) dxn (x, y,...), x x (x)dx a (x)dx *g


( )


inverse of the square matrix A transpose matrix of A complex conjugate matrix of A determinant of the square matrix A

Al AT, A* det A, An.......... Aln . . . . Anl..........Ann

All..........Aln . . . . Aml..........Amn

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


9. Mathematical Symbols (continued)

Term vector A magnitude of the vector A scalar product of A and B vector product of A and B del operator gradient of divergence of A curl of A Laplacian DAlembertian Symbol A, (A also used) A, A AB AxB , grad A, div A x A, curl A 2 = 2 + 2 + 2 x2 y2 z2 = 2 + 2 + 2 1 2 x2 y2 z2 c2 t2

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


10. Physical Constants

Quantity acceleration of free fall (standard) atmospheric pressure (standard) atomic mass constant (unified) Avogadro constant Bohr magneton Boltzmann constant elementary (proton) charge electron: charge electron: rest mass electron: charge/mass ratio Faraday constant free space: electric constant free space: intrinsic impedance free space: magnetic constant free space: speed of e.m. waves gravitational constant ideal molar gas constant neutron rest mass Planck constant normalised (h/2) proton: charge proton: rest mass proton: charge/mass ratio radiation constants Stefan-Boltzmann constant unified atomic mass unit (is one twelfth of the mass of the atom of the nuclide 12C) velocity of sound in air (s.t.p.) * exact values Values of physical constants (apart from speed of sound) derived from CODATA Bulletin No. 63, Nov. 1986. Symbol gn po mu NA B k e -e me e/me F o Zo o c G R mn h +e mp e/mp c1 c2 c Numerical Value 9.806 65* 1.013 25 x 105* 1.660 540 x 10-27 6.022 137 x 1023 9.274 015 x 10-24 1.380 658 x 10-23 1.602 177 x 10-19 -1.602 177 x 10-19 9.109 390 x 10-31 1.758 820 x 1011 9.648 531 x 104 8.854 188 x 10-12 376.730 3 4 x 10-7 2.997 924 58 x 108* 6.672 59 x 10-11 8.314 510 1.674 929 x 10-27 6.626 076 x 10-34 1.054 573 x 10-34 1.602 177 x 10-19 1.672 623 x 10-27 9.578 831 x 107 3.741 775 x 10-16 1.438 769 x 10-2 5.670 51 x 10-8 1.660 540 x 10-27 331.45 Unit m/s2 Pa kg mol-1 J/T J/K C C kg C/kg C/mol F/m H/m m/s N m2 kg-2 J mol-1 K-1 kg Js Js C kg C/kg W m2 mK W m-2 K-4 kg m/s

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


11. Conversion Factors

Exact values are shown with an asterisk *. Some of these units may no longer have a legal validity.

1 1 mil 1 in 1 ft 1 yd 1 mile 1 nautical mile 1 astronomical unit 1 light year 100.0* 25.4* 25.4* 0.304 8* 0.914 4* 1.609 344* 1.852* 0.149 597 87* 9.460 3 pm m mm m m km km Tm Pm

Area, Volume
1 in2 1 ft2 1 yd2 1 ha 1 in3 1 litre 1 UK fluid ounce 1 UK gal 1 US gal 1 ft3 1 yd3 1 mile2 (640 acres) 1 are 1 acre (4840 yd2) 645.16* 0.092 903 04* 0.836 127 10 000.0* 16 387.064* 1.0* 28.41 x 106 4.546 09 3.785 41 0.028 316 8 0.764 555 2.589 98 100.0* 4 046.855 mm2 m2 m2 m2 mm3 dm3 m3 L L m3 m3 km2 m2 m2

Mass, Density
1 oz (adp) 1 oz (troy) 1 lb 1 tonne 1 (UK) ton 1 lb/ft3 1 lb/in3 1 cwt (UK) 1 carat 28.35 31.10 0.453 592.37* 1 000.0* 1 016.05 16.018 5 27.68 50.802 3 0.2* g g kg kg kg kg/m3 Mg/m3 kg g

1 ft/s 1 mile/h 1 knot 0.304 8* 0.447 04* 0.514 4 m/s m/s m/s

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Force, Pressure, Torque

1 ozf 1 lbf 1 kgf 1 Torr 1 mm Hg 1 in H2O 1 m H2O 1 bar 1 lbf/in2 1 ft lbf 1 dyne 1 standard atmosphere 278.0 4.448 22 9.806 65* 133.322 133.322 249.09 9.806 65* 100.0* 6.894 76 1.355 82 10.0* 0.101 325* mN N N Pa Pa Pa kPa kPa kPa Nm N MPa

Energy, Power
1 eV 1 cal (international table) 1 Cal (= 1 kcal thermochemical) 1 ft lbf 1 m kgf 1 Btu 1 therm 1 kW h 1 ft lbf/s 1 m kgf/s 1 Btu/h 1 hp (UK) 1 erg/s 0.160 218 2 4.186 8* 4.184* 1.355 82 9.806 65* 1.055 06 105.506 3.6* 1.355 82 9.806 65* 0.293 071 0.745 7 0.1* aJ J kJ J J kJ MJ Mj W W W kW W

Widely used for energy content of food. (There are different calories, of marginally different sizes; also note that the big calorie, used in newspapers etc., is 1000 times the corresponding small calorie.)

Nucleonics, Radiation
Curie rad Rntgen barn foot-candle 1 Ci 1 rd 1R 1 barn (or 1 b) 1 ft cd 3.70 x 1010* 0.01* 2.58 x 104* 1028* 10.76 Bq Gy C/kg m2 lx

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Special remark on logarithmic quantities and units

The expression for the time dependence of a damped harmonic oscillation can be written either in real notation or as the real part of a complex notation F(t) = A et cos(t) = Re(A e(+j)t) This simple relation involving and can be obtained only when e (base of natural logarithms) is used as the base of the exponential function. The coherent SI unit for the damping coefficient and the angular frequency is second to the power minus one, i.e. 1/s. Using the special names neper, Np, and radian, rad, for the units of t and t respectively, the units for and become neper per second, Np/s, and radian per second, rad/s, respectively. Neper and radian are special names for the dimensionless unit one, 1. The neper is used as a unit for logarithmic quantities; the radian is used as a unit for plane angles and for the phase of circular functions. Corresponding variation in space is treated in the same manner F(x) = A ex cos(x) = Re(A ex), = + j where the unit for is neper per metre, Np/m, and the unit for is radian per metre, rad/m. In ISO 31, the level of a field quantity is therefore defined as the natural logarithm of a ratio of two amplitudes, LF = ln(F/F0), and is hence a quantity of dimension one. The unit neper (= the number 1) is the level of a field quantity when F/F0 = e. Since power is often proportional to the square of an amplitude, a factor 1/2 is introduced in the definition of the level of a power quantity Lp = (1/2) ln(P/P0) in order to make the level of the power quantity under these circumstances equal to the level of the field quantity. In practice the non-coherent unit degree, , (1 = /180 rad) is often used for angles and the non-coherent unit bel, B, [1 B = (1/2) loge10 Np 1.151 293 Np] is based on common logarithms (base 10) for logarithmic quantities. Instead of the bel, its submultiple the decibel, dB, is commonly used. Some numerical conversion factors are: power level frequency 1 dB 1 Np 1 octave 1 decade 0.05 loge 10 Np (=0.115 129 Np) 20 log10 e dB (8.686 dB log10 2 decade (0.301 decade) log2 10 octave (3.321 octave)

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


12. Graphical Symbols

Connections and network elements
+ R Y B N a.c. supply n conductors screened conductor

cell battery (long +ve) d.c. supply







in frame fuse symbol in envelope: A ammeter V voltmeter W wattmeter etc. microphone 1 2 general impedance resistor (1 prefered) non-reactive loudspeaker one-port two-port




indicating movement

U (or V) non-linear

1 thermistor moving contact 2


general impedance (1 prefered) +







polarised e.g. electrolytic

ideal voltage source

ideal current source



signal path Not in BS but in common use

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Power plant
Transformers: if desired, core shown by single line annotated to indicate material current or pulse




2-wdg Machines:



descriptive symbols in envelope: G (generator), M (motor), G d.c., M a.c. S (synchronous), GS, MS linear M stepping M wdgs M starter


{ ~/- rectifier

/- d.c.

/~ inverter etc.

choke reactor




bridge rectifier


Electronic devices

+ general Diodes: operational parametric integrating inverting


breakdown diode, Esaki diode


light emitting diode

tunnel diode


Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering



triode thyristor (type unspecified) Cells:


reverse blocking n-gate

triode thyristor p-gate

photo-conductive device Transistors:


(for p-type arrows are reversed) IGFET n-channel enhancement (use of the envelope symbol is optional unless there is a connection to it) with substrate connection brought out npn transistor JUGFET n-channel IGFET n-channel depletion unijunction transistor with n-type base

Logic symbols

x y z

x y z

x y

5 ns


BS 3939 (1991)



5 ns

AND element Not in BS but in common use

Or element


delay element (5 ns)

Schmitt trigger

input logic negation


input logic polarity

output dynamic input

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Logic symbols (continued)

S R RS-bistable astable element monostable memories: ROM; PROM; RAM; CAM DPV * multiplexer demultiplexer G ROM * *

asterisk: indicates no. of addresses and bits

arithmetic elements

asterisk: adder P-Q subtractor multiplier ALU arithmetic logic unit DX



m1 m2


shift register


display unit

Optic fibre symbols


optical fibre optical fibre cable

multimode stepped index optical fibre

single mode stepped index optical fibre

graded index optical fibre

a core diameter b cladding " c first coating " d jacketing "

permanent joint

dB optical connection femalemale optical attenuator changeover contact in optical fibre circuit

guided light devices

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Telecommunication symbols
general low pass high pass band pass band stop


out carrier

dB fixed loss attenuator

dB variable loss attenuator distortion corrector filter

general symbol for: modulator, demodulator, discriminator

piezo-electric circuit

f1/f2 freq. chgr. f /(f/n) freq. div. f /nf freq. mult. 25/27 code conv. etc balancing network hybrid transformer
asterisk sine wave saw tooth pulse variable frequency

asterisk artificial line

delay line

general symbol for charger

delay line

G * threshold generator

Microwave devices







or stripline 3 conductors short-circuit sliding short-circuit

4 3 4

non-contacting piston

matched termination 0 90

three-port junction

four-port junction

hybrid ring

three-port circulator

directional coupler

quadrature coupler G

isolator phase changer (directional) T-R tube cavity resonator maser amplifier

laser generator

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Flowchart symbols


terminal / interrupt




direct access storage

on-line storage

sequential access storage

stored data

internal storage


predefined process

manual operation

auxiliary operation



control transfer







manual input

off-line storage

magnetic disk

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


13. Some Abbreviations

Commonly used abbreviations in optical, logic and microprocessor circuits
Abbreviation ACC ACK ADR ALU BCD BCTR BIN BPS BUF BUS B CAR CC CE CLK CLR COMP CP CR CT CTR CY D DEC DEL DIN DOUT DR DRAM EN END EPROM ERASE ERR EXOR F FF FIFO G GEN GND HEX Description accept acknowledge address arthmetic logic unit binary code decimel bit counter binary bits per second buffer bus byte carry condition code chip enabled clock clear compare clock pulse clock register count counter cycle data decimal delay data in data out data register dynamic random access memory enable end electronic programmable read only memory erase error exclusive or function flip-flop first in - first out gate generate ground hexidecimal Abbreviation INH INT I/O LD LOG 1 LOG Z LSB MAR MM MPX MR MSB MUX P N OCT OP PAR PC PE PU RAM REG RES RO ROM RUN SET SH SRAM START STOP STR SYNC TERM TO TP TRIG WI WR Description inhibit interrupt input / output load logical one logical zero least-significant bit memory address register main memory multiplex memory register most significant bit multiplexor microprocessor negation octal operation parity program counter parity error pull up random access memory register reset read out read only memory run set shift static random access memory start stop storage synchronisation terminate to (transfer) time pulse trigger write in write

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Component identification abbreviations

Abbreviation AE B BB C CB CK CON CSR D EQ F FB FC FL FS FW G H HC HD IC IREG ISL K Description aerial battery busbar capacitor circuit breaker clock contactor controlled semicondustor rectifier diode equaliser fan ferrite disc or bead ferrite core filter fuse field winding generator heater heat coil hydrophone integrated circuit induction regulator isolator key PCC PEC PL RE SD SE SEM SHW SRAM SW TD TL U VB photoconductive cell photoelectric cell plug recording instrument or meter surge diverter of any type sealing end semaphore indicator shunt winding static random access memory seires winding transductor telephone receiver unit vibrator Abbreviation L LK LP LS M ME MG MIC MK ML MT MX Description inductor link lamp loudspeaker motor meter motor generator microphone morse key module telephone handset matrix

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


14. Letter and Digit Code for R & C Values

For resistors, R, K, M, G and T are used as multipliers for 1, 103, 106, 109 and 1012, respectively, of resistance values expressed in ohms, whilst for capacitors, p, n, , m and F are used as multipliers for 1012, 109, 106, 103 and 1, respectively, of the capacitance values expressed in farads. For example: Resistance values 0.15 1.5 15.0 1.5 k 150 k 1.5 M 15 M 1.5 G 1.5 T Coded marking R15 1R5 15R 1K5 150K 1M5 15M 1G5 1T5 Capacitance values 0.15 pF 1.5 pF 15.0 pF 1.5 nF 150 nF 1.5 F 15 F 1.5 mF 15 mF Coded marking p15 1p5 15p 1n5 150n 15 15 1m5 15m

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Appendix A
List of Standards used in complilation of 'Units & Symbols'
British Standards Institution (BSI) Publications BS 3363: 1988 BS 3939: 1992 BS 4058: 1995 BS 5070: 1991 BS 5555: 1993 BS 5775: 1993 Letter symbols for semiconductor devices and integrated microcircuits Graphical symbols for electrical power, telecommunications and electronics diagrams Data processing flow chart symbols, rules and conventions Engineering diagram drawing practice. Part 4: recommendations for logic diagrams SI Units and recommendations for the use of their multiples (ISO 1000: 1992) and of certain other units Quantities, units and symbols. Part 5: electricity and (ISO 31: 1992) magnetism. Part 11: mathematical signs and symbols for use in the physical sciences and technology

Note: The information given in the Booklet is in accordance (where relevant) with the Council* Directive on Units of Measurement (1991). *The Council of the European Communities

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Appendix B
Typefaces used
English Alphabet Upper case upright A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Lower case upright a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Upper case sloping A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Lower case sloping a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


Appendix B
Typefaces used
Greek Alphabet Upper case upright alpha beta gamma delta epsilon zeta eta theta iota kappa lambda mu nu xi omicron pi rho sigma tau upsilon phi chi psi omega Lower case upright , * Upper case sloping Lower case sloping

*Used only for partial differential coefficients

Units & Symbols for Electrical & Electronic Engineering


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